Memorandum of Grievance to the President of the Republic of South Africa and the Minister of Police
We stand here today as the collective voice of the Rastafarian Faith in the Western Cape. We have come here today to hand over our grievances and demands to the President of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma and the Minister of Police, Mr Nkosinathi Nlekho. If they are unable to attend, we trust that their respective representatives are here to receive the memorandum on their behalf and hand it over to them.
Firstly, we would like to stress the crucial and pivotal contribution which the Rastafarian faith of South Africa added to the fight against apartheid and all other forms of White Domination locally and internationally. Numerous Rastafarian adherents have been martyred during the struggle against Apartheid most notably, the leader of the feared MK grouping known as the “Gugulethu 7” Christopher “Piet” Rasta was a Rastafarian adherent who was murdered in 1986 by the Security Police during a counter-terrorism operation in Gugulethu. A further example is the catalytic influence which reggae artists and their music had on adding impetus to the independence struggles of numerous African countries including South Africa when Anti-Apartheid activists drew inspiration and morale from reggae music. Not to mention that in 1962 former president Nelson Mandela underwent political, military and spiritual training in Ethiopia this was after he was invited by Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I who is the God and deity of the Rastafarian faith. The now famous Makarov pistol which Nelson Mandela hid underground at the ANC’s Lilies Leaf Farm in Rivonia, Johannesburg after returning from Ethiopia was handed to him by an Ethiopian Army Commander acting on the direct instruction of Emperor Haile Selassie I.
Sadly, the contribution of the Rastafarian faith towards the fight against Apartheid has been grossly overlooked by those who now call themselves the Leaders of the “New” South Africa. This is no more evident than in the daily encounters of victimization, brutalization and marginalization which Rastafarians are subjected to at the hands of members of the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the exclusionary laws which we are subjected to at schools, at our respective workplaces and in public spaces.
Note that this is not the first time that we are marching against the ill-treatment of Rastafarian adherents in South Africa; we have been protesting for many years but to no avail by the South African Government. However, we can emphatically and unequivocally state that this will be our last march as the current consensus amongst Rastafarians within the Western Cape has reached a tipping point where we as Rastafarians are now compelled to defend ourselves by escalating our fight against the onslaught of ill-treatment of Rastafarians at the hands of SAPS and the exclusionary laws of this Government which marginalize us. We hereby unambiguously reiterate that if our demand to be treated as equal citizens of South Africa is not met, we as the followers of the Rastafarian faith here in the Western Cape will take the necessary steps to escalate our fight against the inhumane acts of Police Brutality and Religious Discrimination which we are subjected to here in South Africa.
We as the Rastafarian nation of South Africa reserve our sovereign right to self-determination and thus the Government of South Africa should take heed to our list of demands. Our enemies are not Mr Jacob Zuma or the ANC, our enemies are his masters those who are seated in the Vatican City, the IMF, the World Bank, the Council of Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, the British Monarchy, the Military Industrial Complex and the Rothschild family of Europe. Ultimately, all of these establishments are the fundamental aspects of the system of Global White Supremacy which South Africa itself is subservient unto since 1652.
Thus, we as Rastafarians do not have the resolve and energy to be deliberating on peripheral issues such as Police Brutality and the societal marginalization of Rastafarians; however, it has now reached a crisis point where we will no longer be tolerating these violations to our dignity and our right to freedom of association. Therefore, we call on the Government of South Africa to act swiftly on our demands before the current situation escalates and violence ensues which will have serious implications for the national security of South Africa.
Here follows the List of our demands:
1. We call on the President of the Republic Of South Africa to use his prerogative to impose a moratorium on all SAPS operations which target Rastafarian Communities and individuals within the borders of South Africa. Until the criminalization of marijuana for spiritual and cultural practices is nullified as marijuana utilization is a core practice in the Rastafarian faith.
2. We request that IPID fastrack their investigations of police brutality where Rastafarian adherents are the victims of police brutality and that they are compensated by the Minister of Police for the pain and suffering they experienced at the hands of SAPS members.
3. Minister of Police Mr Nkosinathi Nhleko should publically apologise to the Rastafarians of South Africa for the psychological damage, bodily harm and reputational destruction which members of SAPS inflicted upon Rastafarian adherents.
4. We request that President Jacob Zuma grant a Presidential Pardon for all Azanian Peoples Liberation Army (APLA) soldiers who are still imprisoned in South African Jails for acts they committed during their fight against Apartheid.
5. We demand that President Jacob Zuma nullify the amnesty granted to the former head of the Apartheid regimes’ head of Chemical and Biological Warfare programme Dr Wouter Basson. We further demand that Dr Wouter Basson be imprisoned for his role in introducing and proliferating Mandrax in the so-called coloured areas of the Cape Flats which was done under Project Coast.
6. We as Rastafarians demand that our right to self-determination as a religious grouping is granted by having the South African Government fulfil its constitutional onus in allowing us to acquire land in which we can practice our right to self-determination.
7. We are calling for the end to the religious and cultural discrimination and marginalisation which our youth are subjected to at public and private schools in South Africa.
8. We are demanding that the criminalization of marijuana for spiritual and cultural practices is nullified since marijuana utilization is a core practice in the Rastafarian faith.
9. We are also urging the South African Government to request that the British Monarchy, the French Government and the Dutch Government pay reparations unto the so-called coloured people and descendants of the Khoi-San nations of the Western Cape for the inhumane practice of Slavery which was institutionalized in the Cape from 1652 until 1834. The practice of Slavery was the prime driver of the wealth in Europe and the establishment of Cape Town.
10. The Nama language of the Khoi San nation should be made the 12th official language of South Africa.
We trust that the President of the Republic of South Africa acts upon our demands and notifies us on the course action and steps which they as the Government will initiate in order to fulfill our demands. We once again urge that the government takes our demands to the highest degree of importance as we the Rastafarian peoples of South Africa will not tolerate mediocrity and allow our integrity to be undermined any longer by any State apparatus or individual not even the President
Cover Pic: Photo by Masixole Feni. www.groundup.org.za